Thursday 18 December 2008

Map of Scholas

Establised by Musica Sacra of the USA. This isn't the first time I've tried to add our schola; let's hope it works this time!

Zoom in and out with your mouse wheel (or the little buttons bottom right); move the map by 'dragging'.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Final Mass of Michaelmas Term and termly dinner

Our final Mass of term took place in SS Gregory and Augustine, which is undergoing some very positive renovations. The regular traditional Mass on First Fridays fell, this December, on the Feast of St Birinus, a feast unique to the Archdiocese of Birmingham. St Birinus brought the faith to Oxfordshire, basing himself in Dorchester on Thames, which was accordingly the seat of his diocese. Below is a medieval stained glass window showing St Birinus receiving his commission from Pope Honorius I, in Dorchester Abbey, which once housed his shrine. (At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was an Abbey of canons regular, but it was saved by the residents of Dorchester to serve as a parish church.)

A ten-strong schola sang the Mass to a very pleasing standard and repaired afterwards, in company with the serving term, to a splendid termly dinner in the house of the Senior Member.

Thursday 4 December 2008

Sacred Music in Rome: 'mediocrity and paralysis'

Given the emphasis on culture of the present Pope, and the emphasis on Gregorian Chant of the Second Vatican Council, it is truly shocking to read such things from the respected Italian journalist Sandro Magister. It is reported and commented on by Fr John Zulhsdorf.

It is particularly interesting to hear that the Sistine Chapel Choir have earned the nickname the 'Sistine Screamers'. Oxford's Chant Schola may not be so far behind the centre of the Catholic world in the restoration of liturgical music.

Friday 21 November 2008

Magdalen College Mass

It was a great honour for the Schola to sing at this important Mass, which was widely anticipated and reported in the blogs and the press (see The Times). Magdalen College's own tradition of choral excellence was something to live up to!

The Mass went extremely well, under the direction of our professional coach, Mr Adrian Taylor. I managed to capture only part of the singing, but here is the 'Libera nos', sung before the blessing of the cataphalque, sung by a small part of the schola. The cantor in this instance was the excellent Mr John Simmonds, who joined us for the occasion.

Monday 3 November 2008

All Souls at the Oxford Oratory

Last week we benefited from one of the regular visits of our professional coach, Mr Adrian Taylor, who is based in London. Here is a picture of him with the schola at our regular practice session.
This was in preparation for the feast of All Souls, celebrated with a traditional Missa Cantata at the Oxford Oratory. We had a large schola for the occasion, which is helpful in such a reletively large church, especially since we sing from the choir loft at the back.
Fr Anton Webb, who has himself sung with us in the past, was the celebrant at the Mass. Other former singers were among the servers; we had the full ceremonies, with incense. About sixty people were present for the Mass.
The Oxford Oratory, like Westminster Cathedral, is full of scaffolding at the moment. The purpose, however, is not structural repair but the long-awaited restoration of the internal decoration, which was painted over in a fit of enthusiasm for 'noble simplicity' by the Jesuit guardians of the church in the 1950s.

Monday 27 October 2008

Chant Day at Farnbrough

Schola Gregoriana Sancti Nicolai

Gregorian Chant Workshop
St Michael’s Abbey,
Farnborough led by Dom Cuthbert Brogan, OSB - Abbot of Farnborough

SATURDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2008: 10.00-16.30

This will be our third Farnborough Abbey Chant Workshop. The objects include improvement of skills, recruitment of new members, and increased enjoyment of Gregorian Chant and the Old Liturgy which is now encouraged and authorised by the Catholic Church Worldwide since the Moto Proprio of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough GU14 7NQ is situated within walking distance of the railway station.

Programme - 10.00 Registration Workshop Part I Office of Sext - chanted by the monks Break for Lunch Workshop Part II Office of None - chanted by the monks Break for coffee Workshop Part III 16.30 Workshop completes 16.45 Office of Vespers - chanted by the monks Syllabus - will include notation, modes, chant practice (including psalmody) - Chants to be covered - a. Ordinary - Mass IV Cunctipotens Genitor Deus b.

Propers for feast of St Nicholas: Introit - Statuit Gradual - Inveni Alleluia - Justus ut palma Offertory - Veritas mea Communion - Semel juravi

Materials - all being prepared by Fr Abbot Cuthbert

Fees: £15 (including tea but excluding lunch) Tea will be provided and sandwiches for lunch - at a small charge Contact: or Tel: 01798-344541

Sunday 26 October 2008

First event of Michaelmas 2008: LMS Oxford Pilgrimage

Our first event of the year was the Latin Mass Society Oxford Pilgrimage. Each year there is a Solemn High Mass, a procession to one of the sites of martyrdom in the city, and Benediction. This year Bishop Kenney, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, blessed a new plaque honouring the four Catholics executed in 1589, who were beatified by Pope John-Paul II in 1987.

The picture above shows part of the procession with Bishop Kenney, other clergy, and the Schola in front of them. (In accordance with the custom, the bishop was at the back of the procession.) We sang the Litany of the Saints, the Te Deum and other things as we walked along. After the procession we sang at Benediction in Blackfriars: picture below. There is more about the events of the day here and here.

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Matins of the Dead, Worcester College

We have received this email:

Dear Gregorian Chant Society:

There will be a sung Matins for the Dead on 1 November (Saturday of 3rd) at 11
pm in Worcester College Chapel. The plainsong has been newly transcribed from
the extant manuscripts of the liturgical use of York.

Some of your members may be interested in attending. If so, please pass on these
details; there is a link to a Facebook event below.

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Freshers' Fair 2008

Here is our stall, manned by our President, Richard, among the stalls of Oxford innumerable choirs. The lady in the straw hat behind him is at the Gilbert and Sullivan Society stall.

Wednesday 1 October 2008

Our Logo

Our logo is based on the rebus of our spiritual patron, Bl. Thomas Abel (c.1497 to 1540), which he carved on the wall of the Beachamp Tower at the Tower of London while awaiting execution by King Henry VIII. Visitors to the Tower can see it today.

It is a pun on his name: A - bell. It also recalls the pilgrims' souvenirs from the shrine of St Thomas of Canterbury - see this example in the British Museum which says 'CAMPANA ThOME' on it. (St Thomas' shrine was destroyed by order of Henry VIII in 1538.)

Thomas Abel had been a student at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was Chaplain and Music teacher to Queen Catharine of Aragon. He supported her during the King's attempts to divorce her, and he wrote a pamphlet on the subject: Invicta Veritas, an answer to the determination of the most famous Universities, that by no manner of law it may be lawful for King Henry to be divorced from the Queen's grace, his lawful and very wife.

Oxford University, in fact, had refused to support the King's case; only the Faculty of Theology had been prevailed upon to give a favourable response.

Bl. Thomas Abel suffered with two other priests, Bl. Edward Powell and Bl. Richard Featherstone (links to the Catholic Encyclopedia), together representing Queen Catharine's legal team, on 30th July 1540. They were dragged on hurdles from the Tower to Smithfield, each sharing a hurdle with a Protestant condemned for heresy - an interesting ecumenical gesture - and hanged, drawn and quartered. The Protestants, Barnes, Garret, and Jerome, were burned at the stake.

The three priests were beatified by Pope Leo XIII, on 29th December 1886. Presumably because Bl Edward Powell was born in Wales, in the Extraordinary Form they have a joint feast day on 30th July in the Dioceses of Wales.

The logo was drawn for us by the Catholic artist Daniel Mitsui.

Saturday 6 September 2008

Term Card for Michaelmas Term 2008

Officers: Richard Craddock, Somerville, President
Alexander Morrison, Oriel, Secretary
Erik Tonning, Regent's Park College, Treasurer
Dr Joseph Shaw, St Benet's Hall, Senior Member

2nd Week, Sat

(25th October): Solemn High Mass 11am (Blackfriars), Procession 2pm, Benediction 3.30pm:
LMS Pilgrimage to Oxford

4th Week, Mon
(3rd November): Sung Mass 12.15 (Oxford Oratory):
All Souls

6th Week, Mon
(17th November) Sung Mass 7pm (Magdalen College Chapel):
Requiem for Cardinal Pole (450th anniversary)

8th Week, Fri
(5th December): Sung Mass 6pm
(First Friday,
SS Gregory & Augustine, Woodstock Road)

Practices take place at 8.15pm on Wednesdays in Full Term (venue tbc)
NB session with our professional coach on Thursday of 3rd Week (30th Oct) instead of the Wednesday practice that week.

All these Masses are Catholic 'Traditional' Masses ('usus antiquior').

Thursday 7 August 2008

End of term Masses

Somewhat belatedly there are pictures of the Schola's two Masses at the end of Trinity term: Mass in the historic chapel of Mapledurham House, 31st May, for the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady, and the First Friday of June, 6th, which was the feast of St Norbert, celebrated in the parish church of SS Gregory and Augustine. The celebrant in both cases was Fr John Saward.

After the latter the schola had its termly dinner in The Anchor, Hayfield Road, with members of the serving team and the Senior Member's children...

More pictures and commentary on the Mapledurham Mass can be found on the Oxford Events blog here.

These Masses were the last of the Schola's events for the academic year. Thus ends a very successful year, the first full year of the Schola's existence. Next term we will be back in Freshers' Fair to recruit a new generation of singers, and already have lined up for the term participation in the unveiling of a plaque to Oxford's Catholic martyrs of 1589, All Souls in the Oxford Oratory, and a Requiem for Reginald, Cardinal Pole, in Madgalen College chapel, marking the 450th anniversary of his death.

For these and other forthcoming events, see the Oxford LMS Rep blog.

Monday 26 May 2008

Chant Training Day

The Schola participated in the Gregorian Chant Training Day organised by the local Latin Mass Society. It was hosted by Fr John Saward in his church of SS Gregory and Augustine, and led by Mr Philip Duffy. Some videos of the singing at the Mass which concluded the day can be found here.

Friday 23 May 2008

Corpus Christi at the Oxford Oratory

The Oxford Gregorian Chant Society provided the singing for this parish Mass at the Oxford Oratory, which was attended by more than 80 people, and was celebrated on the traditional date of the feast, the second Thursday after Whitsun.

Thursday 15 May 2008

Why is Chant making a comeback?

Excellent post on the New Liturgical Movement blog here.

Sunday 27 April 2008

St Joseph the Worker practice videos

Introit Sapentia LU 1440

Offertory Bonitas Domini LU 1444

Communion Unde huic LU 1444

Sunday 20 April 2008

Trinity 2008 Term Card

2nd Week: Friday (2nd May) First Friday: St Joseph the Worker
(SS Gregory and Augustine, Woodstock Road, Oxford: 6pm)

5th Week: Thursday (22nd May), Corpus Christi (Oxford Oratory, Woodstock Road, Oxford: 12.15)

Saturday 11.30pm 24th May Chant Training Day: SS G&A from 9.30 am; Sung Mass at 3.30pm (Votive Mass of Our Lady)

6th Week: (31st May) 11.30am Our Lady, Queen: Mapledurham House, near Reading

7th Week: First Friday (6th June), St Norbert, (SS G&A 6pm)

Friday 29 February 2008

Thursday 14 February 2008

Sung Mass at Dorchester

This took place on Saturday 9th February. The celebrant was Fr Nicholas du Chaxel. Some videos:

Introit: Salve Sancta Parens, Kyrie, Collect

Tract: Gaude Maria Virgo

Communion: Beata viscera

Mass VIII Sanctus

Salve Regina Caelorum

Saturday 26 January 2008

Sunday 20 January 2008

Hillary Term 2008 Term Card

Every Tuesday and Thursday in Full Term:
6.30pm Sung Latin Vespers, St Benet's Hall: all welcome

Practices: Our all-male schola meets every Wednesday in Full Term at 8.15pm
in the Music Room, The Queen's College.

Public Masses this term: All welcome

3rd Week: Friday 1st Feb, 6pm: Sung Mass,
SS Gregory and Augustine, Woodstock Road.
Mass of St Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr.

4th Week: Saturday 9th Feb, 11.30am: Sung Mass,
St Birinus, Dorchester-on-Thames.
Votive Mass of Our Lady.

8th Week: Friday 7th Feb, 6pm: Sung Mass,
SS Gregory and Augustine, Woodstock Road.
Ferial Mass of Lent.

All these Masses are according to the 1962 Missal;
for more on the 'Traditional Mass' in Oxford see here.
Our termly session with our professional coach will take place before Mass on 9th Feb.
Transport to St Birinus will be arranged; please contact us.

The Churches we singing at this term:

SS Gregory & Augustine
322 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 7NS

St Birinus
Bridge End, Dorchester on Thames OX10 7JR

Tuesday 15 January 2008

Bl Thomas Abel

The Oxford Gregorian Chant Society is under the spiritual patronage of Blessed Thomas Abel. He was a student of Magdalen College, a priest, and a musician, and the chaplain and music teacher to Queen Katharine of Aragon. Like other opponents of Henry's divorce of Katharine, he was imprisoned; with two of them, Bl. Edmund Powell and Bl. Richard Feathersone, he was executed (hanged, drawn, and quartered) on 30th July 1540. Three Zwinglian Protestants were burnt for heresy on the same occasion. Since Powell was a Welshman, the three are honoured on 30th July with a feastday in the Dioceses of Wales in the Extraordinary Form calendar.

While imprisoned in the Tower of London, in the Beauchamp Tower, Abel carved a rebus, or visual pun, on the wall: a play on his name, 'A-bell'.

Immediately below this carving is another, by Prior Lawrence Cook of the Carmelite Priory at Doncaster, another beatus who was executed in 1538, for his lack of enthusiasm for the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Many other Catholic prisoners wrote their names on the walls around the Beauchamp tower cell; the most famous was a later prisoner, and a saint, St Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel. You can in this picture see his name and part of the Latin motto he composed: 'The more we suffer for Christ in this life, the more glory we shall have in the next life.' After many years in prison he died there in 1595.